The Forgotten Australians website, exhibition and oral history project
The National Museum and the National Library of Australia, no strangers to investigating and interpreting traumatic experiences, are collaborating to record the stories of the Forgotten Australians, the 500,000 Australians who experienced institutional care as child migrants or as wards of the state, often leaving them with damaged lives and painful memories. In November 2009, the then Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, apologised on behalf of the nation to the Forgotten Australians for the treatment that they had endured. This followed his apology to the Stolen Generation of Indigenous Australians in February 2008. The National Museum is developing a three-dimensional exhibition on the Forgotten Australians, and the National Library is conducting an oral history project. Photos and other documents, and testimonies by the Forgotten Australians can be accessed through a website, Forgotten Australians: Our History, at http://forgottenaustralianshistory.gov.au/index.html
Exploration and Endeavour: The Royal Society of London and the South Seas
The National Museum also collaborates with institutions overseas – in this case the Royal Society of London – to bring documentary heritage to Australia, and give access to documentary heritage to a potential worldwide audience. The current exhibition in the Museum’s Studio Gallery, Exploration and Endeavour: The Royal Society of London and the South Seas, not only displays key documents in the history of the Royal Society’s role in widening the understanding of people in Britain and Europe of the cultures of the Pacific region; but also demonstrates advances in scientific approaches to navigation, hygiene and diet, meteorology, astronomy and zoology.
The documents also illuminate the characters of some of the leading players in the story of early European contact with the Pacific, notably James Cook and Sir Joseph Banks, who are brought alive again through their words written on yellowing 18th century paper. For those who would like to see more than what is on display in the Studio Gallery or who cannot come to the exhibition – or both – the museum’s website provides access to each page of every document, and even allows the reader to zoom in on specific areas of a page. The whole exhibition is on line at: